If you are an anime fanatic, chances are you know the name Katsuhiro Otomo, whose 1988 classic Akira is still hailed as one of the greatest of all time.
For many years now, Warner Brothers has been developing, or rather, try to develop a live-action version of the classic anime, based on Otomo’s manga. In the story, motorcycle gang leader Shotaro must stop his subordinate Tetsuo from using his newfound powers to release the titular “esper”.
Many names have been considered over the years. Recently, Jordan Peele, David F. Sandberg, and Daniel Espinosa were considered for directing, but those talks have fallen through. However, speaking with Forbes magazine, Otomo revealed that as the creator of the property, he will allow a live-action to be made, but he gets final say in whether the script is worthy enough:
“While I haven’t seen the new live-action ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ when it comes to ‘Akira’ I have already finished the original manga and my own anime version, too. So in that sense, I am basically done with ‘Akira’.
If someone wants to do something new with ‘Akira’ then I am mostly okay with that. As I accepted the offer for a live-action ‘Akira’ to be made, so I am generally okay with whatever they want to do with it. However, I did give one major condition to a live-action version and that is that I had to check and approve the scenario.
As always, the fundamental question on adapting anything is whether you follow the host work strictly or do something new with it, that is a never-ending discussion I think. This is especially true for film-based adaptations from novels, as the reader has to use their own imagination to bring it to life.
Readers inherently have their own interpretation. That often means a movie’s production has more creative freedom. That said, with things like manga it means the story already comes with very specific visuals. That makes it much harder for a film’s production to go their own way with it.
Personally, I think being entirely bound to the original manga of something like Akira would not make any sense as a movie. As for what I would do in terms of adapting Akira into my own live-action movie, I really don’t want to do that. I would much rather do something entirely new and separate.”
Akira celebrates its 35th anniversary this year of Otomo’s original manga, which will be released in a boxset later this year. As for the anime, it is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Will we see a live-action Akira? At this rate, the answer truly lies within…
H/T: Dark Horizons